All Blogs

Different Categories of shell and tube heat exchangers

Shell and tube heat exchanger is a certain class of heat exchanger or design that are the most common types used in the chemical process industry. It consists of a shell or pressure vessel and a bundle of tubes or tube nests inserted into the shell. In most chemical processing applications, the corrosive fluid runs through the tubes, and another fluid flows over the tubes (through the shell) to transfer heat between the two fluids. The set of tubes is called a tube bundle, Niche patent honeycomb design fusses the tubes to make a tube-tube sheet joint. Due to this manufacturing procedure, our heat exchangers are limited to a single pass, but we can provide units in series or parallel if more surface area is required for a particular application.

Though the standard construction of a shell and tube heat exchanger is simple in the design there are different varieties, materials, and configurations to suit a multitude of industry needs. The standard construction of a shell and tube heat exchanger consists of the following:

Shell or pressure vessel is where a cooling or heating fluid will flow through to transfer heat or remove heat from a tube bundle.

Tube bundle The bundle is inserted into the pressure vessel and process fluid is run through for heating or cooling purposes.

Tube Sheet The tube sheet is used to support and isolate the tubes within a shell and tube heat exchanger.

Baffles are plates that direct shell fluid flows around the tube bundle to promote heat transfer.

Every process need will be different and thus have a different need for their heat exchanger materials of construction. This is dependent upon the fluids, pressures, and temperatures used within the heat exchanger. Examples of the more common materials of construction are listed below:

Shell Materials :

Carbon Steel (The most common)

Stainless Steel (Typically 304 or 316)

Cast Iron

Tube materials :


Stainless Steel



Fluoropolymer (FEP, PFA, and "Q" resins) "Q" is a special fluorocarbon compound that significantly improves thermal efficiency and increases temperature and pressure capabilities. This material is available exclusively through Niche Fluoropolymer Products.

Each industry and individual need will be different and thus leads to a different style of shell and tube heat exchanger. Shell and tube heat exchangers come in a variety of styles and materials to help each customer achieve their heat transfer goals. 

The three types of Shell and tube heat exchangers are as Follows :

Fixed Tubesheet this heat exchanger type has straight tubes through the shell and is fixed at both ends.

U-Tube as the name describes, the tube bundle in this heat exchanger is U-shaped. The tubes start in the top part of the tube sheet, make a U, and come back to the bottom part of the tube sheet.

Floating Head -This heat exchanger type has one end of the tube fixed in the tube sheet while the other end is kept free to expand.

Shell and tube heat exchangers are one of the most popular types of heat exchangers because of their flexibility to accommodate a wide range of temperatures and pressures. These heat exchangers have long been the choice by industrial and commercial personnel and with high popularity among these individuals comes a variety of shell and tube heat exchanger types.

Recent Posts